The story of the day as Sunderland capitalise on Portsmouth and Peterborough slip-ups with Rochdale win
Sunderland welcome Rochdale to the Stadium of Light in the League One this afternoon – and we’ll be bringing you a live stream of updates from the clash.
The Black Cats promotion hopes live on and their results of late have seen them climb the table and into the top four.
And with a key week ahead – with notable fixtures in both the league and the Papa John’s Trophy to come - Lee Johnson will be hoping his side can register another vital three points as struggling Rochdale come to town.
Both teams have their own injury worries and could name some patched-together teams for the clash.
We’ll have all the latest team news and insight pre-match, plus a live stream of updates from our dedicated writing team throughout the afternoon as we ensure you don’t miss a kick from the big game.
So simply scroll down as the day progresses for fresh updates:
FT: Sunderland AFC 2-0 Rochdale (Sanderson 7, Wyke 35)
Last updated: Saturday, 06 March, 2021, 14:30
- Sunderland welcome Rochdale to the Stadium of Light this afternoon (3pm kick-off).
- The Black Cats are looking to make it back-to-back wins in League One after their midweek triumph over Swindon.
- Lee Johnson could make more changes to his side amid a hectic fixture schedule - but will be without a number of key players through injury.
- Sunderland XI: Burge; Sanderson, Younger, O’Nien, McFadzean; Power, Winchester, Jones, McGeady; O’Brien, Wyke
And welcome to our live blog!
It’s a lovely day on Wearside and Sunderland are preparing for yet another League One game - with Rochdale this weekend’s opponents.
The Dale are struggling at the wrong end of the table and will be desperate for points against an injury-hit Black Cats.
Lee Johnson’s side, meanwhile, are targeting back-to-back wins and some momentum ahead of next weeks - which sees them face Portsmouth and then travel to Wembley for the Papa John’s Trophy final.
Anyway, let’s crack on...
Here’s how League One looks ahead of kick-off...
Sunderland are comfortably inside the automatic promotion places - and could climb the table if Lincoln slip up this afternoon.
Here’s all today’s fixtures in League One. They’re all 3pm kicks-offs, unless otherwise stated:
- Gillingham v Ipswich Town (1pm)
- Accrington Stanley v Ipswich Town
- Blackpoool v AFC Wimbledon
- Burton Albion v Peterborough United
- Doncaster Rovers v Plymouth Argyle
- Hull City v Bristol Rovers
- Lincoln City v Crewe Alexandra
- Northampton Town v Portsmouth
- Oxford United v Charlton Athletic
- Shrewsbury Town v Fleetwood Town
- Wigan Athletic v MK Dons
Lee Johnson has a clear message for his players ahead of today’s game...
The key tactical message Lee Johnson had for his Sunderland players this week ahead of their latest test
Lee Johnson says bravery in possession is going to be key for Sunderland as they look to start off a defining week in their season with a win against Rochdale.
Contract talks will soon be on the horizon
With Sunderland’s season close to an end, contract talks will soon open.
But Lee Johnson says he is not aware of any contract talks between Luke O’Nien and the club at this stage.
Reports in the national media last week said that the Black Cats were on the brink of offering a new, long-term deal to the popular 26-year-old.
Sunderland undoubtedly want O’Nien to stay at the club in the long term, but Johnson said as far as he was aware there had been ‘no change’ in the situation at the club.
The Black Cats have a large number of players out of contract this summer, though it is believed that in some cases the club have an option to extend for a further season.
Johnson has already said that some decisions will be dependent on whether on not Sunderland win promotion or not this season, and what division they subsequently find themselves in next year.
Injuries may mean Rochdale change tact today
The Dale are set to be without six key men - meaning manager Brian Barry-Murphy has been forced to change things up slightly.
Speaking after their midweek defeat to Hull, he said:
We are missing Jake Beesley, Matthew Lund, Stephen Dooley, Jimmy Ryan in midfield and Jack Vale who was brought in as a striker. We are in a position as a club where we can’t replace those players when they are missing.
Like I said, it’s not an excuse, it’s just a clear reason as to why we may find it difficult to score goals at the moment. We’re doing everything we can to create chances by pressure and committing men forward - we did that tonight but we just couldn’t score.
Rochdale are in serious relegation danger, having slipped to 23rd in League One after a dismal run of results.
The Spotland side haven’t won since a 2-1 triumph over Bristol Rovers on January 30 and have lost six of their last ten league outings – which has put manager Barry-Murphy under pressure from some segments of the club’s supporter base.
Will Grigg has been discussing his form and future...
And he insists he remains ‘committed’ to Sunderland, with a year left on his deal.
Read his full thoughts on the future, his time on Wearside so far and his form at MK Dons below:
MK Dons boss Russell Martin says he is 'sure there'll be discussions' about a possible summer move for Will Grigg if the striker maintains his excellent form.
What are the odds for Sunderland v Rochdale?
League One title sponsors SkyBet are heavily backing Sunderland to take victory today.
The Black Cats are as short as 2/5 to win at the Stadium of Light, with Rochdale at 6/1. The draw is 18/5.
Once again, the in-form Charlie Wyke is being tipped to open the scoring and can be backed at 11/5 to net first.
The latest team news from Sunderland and Rochdale
Here’s how both squads are shaping-up ahead of the clash...
The Black Cats are hopeful of a pre-match boost in the form of Lynden Gooch, who will undergo a fitness test this morning to determine whether he can play after taking a knock in midweek.
Lee Johnson will make a late call on the American as he bids to give him every chance to feature - with injuries racking-up.
But the Sunderland boss is set to his numbers rise in the coming weeks with Denver Hume, Bailey Wright, Tom Flanagan, Grant Leadbitter and Ross Stewart all having taken part in some aspects of training on Friday - but this game will likely come too soon for them.
Conor McLaughlin will miss this fixture but could train on Monday, while Jordan Willis and Arbenit Xhemajli are longer-term absentees.
One of the big calls facing the Black Cats’ boss will be whether to hand Chris Maguire a start after he laid on the winner for Charlie Wyke in midweek - days after making a similarly strong impact off the bench at Crewe.
A number of the Dale’s attacking players doubtful through injury.
Jake Beesley, Matthew Lund, Stephen Dooley, Jimmy Ryan and Jack Vale all missed the midweek defeat at Hull City and the visit to Wearside may come too soon for them.
Meanwhile, midfielder Oliver Rathbone – who has previously been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light – was sent-off in the weekend defeat at Burton Albion and will be suspended for the game at Sunderland.
But he won’t be joined on the sidelines by defender Conor Shaughnessy, who saw the red card he was awarded at Hull on Tuesday overturned.
Can I live stream Sunderland AFC v Rochdale?
Yes, today’s fixture between Sunderland and Rochdale will be available to live stream on SAFC.com.
Streaming passes can be purchased now for £10, on the club’s official website.
Our team are in place!
Sunderland fans have now raised over £100,000 by selling virtual Wembley tickets!
A superb effort - and a host of local causes are now set to benefit.
BREAKING: THE TEAM NEWS IS IN!
And here’s how Sunderland line-up: Burge; Sanderson, Younger, O’Nien, McFadzean; Power, Winchester, Jones, McGeady, O’Brien, Wyke
And on the bench: Matthews, Maguire, Scowen, Diamond, Neil, Vokins, Hawkes
So the big news comes at the back, where young defender Oliver Younger is handed a first league start for the club.
He’s one of two changes to the side, as Aiden O’Brien also comes in. Josh Scowen drops to the bench, while Lynden Gooch misses out with a calf problem.
We’re expecting it to be a 4-4-2 for Sunderland today, with one of Power or O’Nien at right-back.
The full teams from the Stadium of Light
Paul McShane - formerly of the Black Cats - starts for Rochdale.
The pre-match verdict on team news...
Watch Sunderland warm-up below
The Black Cats are out to warm-up on what’s a sunny - but also chillly - afternoon on Wearside.